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Can child protective services enter my home if they do not have probable cause?

Spring Creek, NV |

I ran a quick errand to our local DCFS office and left my children supervised by my 12 yr old in the car while I was gone for less than two minutes. Two workers were outside smoking and confronted me when I came back out, sneering that I should not have left my kids in the car in front of DCFS. I replied that my 12 yr old daughter was there supervising. I know I have not broken the laws, so if they still come to my house do I need to let them in since they would not have probable cause to search my house?

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Attorney answers 3


The police need probable cause or exigent circumstances to enter your home -- CPS does not, and can open an investigation on nothing more than an anonymous tip. On the other hand, the law on leaving children in a vehicle in Nevada is that children under 7 cannot be left alone, and a child of at least age 12 may supervise younger children so long as the 12+ year old is capable of supervising and there are no other safety issues. Hopefully the workers who gave you a hard time have had their moment and won't pursue you or your family.

Responses are for general information purposes only, and are based on the extremely limited facts given. A consultation with an attorney experienced in the area of law(s) indicated in the question is highly recommended. Information and advice given here should not be relied upon for any final action or decision, as the information is limited by its nature to the question asked and the fact(s) presented in that question. THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP, particularly considering that the names of the parties are unknown.


The threshold for CPS is very, *very* low.

It is not a criminal proceeding, and the criminal protections simply don't apply.


CPS is not bound by the same Constitutional protections that bind the police from entry into your some, search & seizure and such because CPS charges are only quasi-criminal.

I agree with my colleagues that no laws were broken here. Child neglect is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. Be very careful. Leaving a child in a car is a very common scenario where people are charged criminally.

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